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News We Remembered to Report

Join me for a live chat today at noon.

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Here's a piece from HuffPo by Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Brendan DeMelle titled "Unearthed: News of the Week the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report."

Their first example: The Supreme Court slashed the punitive damages in the Exxon Valdez case.

Let me gently note that this piece of News the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report happened to appear on the front page of The Washington Post.

Example No. 2 of News the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report: The White House is trying to block the publication of an EPA "road map" for future regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.

Fascinatin' stuff, but let us note that this story appeared in The Washington Post (many days before it appeared in HuffPo). The Huffo item links to a story originally published in The Wall Street Journal. (For more tension between EPA and other elements of the Bush Administration, see this recent front-page story in The Post.)

The concept of a regular feature on News the Mainstream Media Forgot to Report is a good one. But go ahead and scroll through this HuffPo column and what you'll see, again and again, are links to mainstream media sites, including The New York Times and The Boston Globe.

I have long been frustrated by the way some bloggers viciously deride the MSM even while relying day in and day out on the (expensive) news gathering of the self-same dreadful Fourth Estate. Talk about ungrateful! The irony gets ratcheted to a new level when the bloggers use that news and pretend that they've done the legwork themselves.

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The extraordinary primary season that ended a month ago carried candidates to every state, federal district, territory, protectorate, commonwealth, royal dominion and duchy in America, and along the way some very talented photographers took some terrif snapshots. I suggested to Shroder (the Mag editaur) that we run some of the pix with captions. The result is the photo essay in today's Post magazine. It probably works best in print because you can read the text and see the photo in close proximity; not sure how it'll work on the Web with that Gallery feature (also I note that the section-breaks that are in the mag are not reproduced on the Web version -- but I'll stop kvetching). [As I've said for years, this "Internet" thing is never going to fly.] [Whatever happened to kids hawking papers on the corner, shouting, "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"]

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As you know, one of the biggest questions facing the country is what to do with our natural resources (offshore oil drilling? tap the Marcellus field? plow all that Midwest conservation land?), and one of those resources is uninhabited territory -- open space, like they have out west in Montana.

But there's bad news on that front: That open Montana countryside is going to be sprouting more and more McMansions under a closed-door deal supervised by the head of the Forest Service. Read Karl Vick's story.

"The Bush administration is preparing to ease the way for the nation's largest private landowner to convert hundreds of thousands of acres of mountain forestland to residential subdivisions.

"The deal was struck behind closed doors between Mark E. Rey, the former timber lobbyist who oversees the U.S. Forest Service, and Plum Creek Timber Co., a former logging company turned real estate investment trust that is building homes. Plum Creek owns more than 8 million acres nationwide, including 1.2 million acres in the mountains of western Montana, where local officials were stunned and outraged at the deal."

The problem with this kind of development is that it's sort of the worst of all worlds: You lose the open space but don't get, in exchange, anything that resembles a real community. The houses are vacant most of the year. No one has roots there.

This is a bit like Santa Monica annexing western Montana.

[I briefly spoke to Rey several months ago in the restaurant of a Missoula hotel, where I was attending a wildlife conference. Rey had been in a legal skirmish over the environmental effects of chemical fire retardant, and had been in court in Missoula that day. He wasn't terribly voluble when approached by a Post reporter. Here's a brief summation of his career, from a story we ran in the Post last year:

' Rey has been in the middle of debates over the nation's forests for years. Even his critics consider him a straight talker, and many say he has unparalleled knowledge and understanding of American forests. His timber industry credentials stretch back to 1976 when, after graduating from the University of Michigan with a master's degree in natural resources policy and administration, he went to work for the American Paper Institute.

'By 1995, when he became the top aide to the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Rey had established himself as one of Capitol Hill's most prominent timber lobbyists. He was viewed as an adept networker and worked at various points for the National Forest Products Association, the American Forest Resource Alliance and the American Forest and Paper Association.

'Rey says he is no longer beholden to his former associates. "To the timber industry, what I'd say is: Our primary objective is to improve the health of the forest that we're leaving behind," he said. "Not to necessarily maximize what we get out of it." ']

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Saw Clive Crook in Aspen and he's been blogging the heck out of the Ideas Camp. He's a smart guy:

'Kemp returned again and again to taxation, accusing Obama of planning a big tax increase. Goolsbee said no, almost all taxpayers will get a tax cut--and the proposed rise in capital gains tax, especially deplored by Kemp, would still leave the rate in the low twenties, which had been consistent with rapid growth and a booming stockmarket in the past. Goolsbee had much the better of this argument. (Although it would have been more accurate to say that under Obama's plan, rather than getting an entirely new cut, almost all taxpayers will retain the one they have already had, courtesy of George W. Bush. This sounds less bold, of course, and clashes a little with the idea that the Bush tax cuts were an unmitigated crime.)'

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Via Mike Allen (former Postie who is a top-shelf newshound at Politico), here's a good quote from Leibo's NYT article on McCain: "Some McCain loyalists say he needs to be left alone and not burdened by his staff's calculations about how he should be acting or what he should saying. 'I think the depressingly self-absorbed McCain campaign machine needs to get out of the way,' said Mike Murphy, a longtime friend and media adviser who has no role in the current operation but who still talks to Mr. McCain every few days. 'They need to just let McCain be McCain.' "

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Ruh-roh.

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Bush heckled at Monticello. Carl Cannon says the day belonged to the immigrants becoming citizens, not to the protestors. What you think? (I think rushing the president like a giant bird, with arms spread, is probably unwise regardless of one's motivation.)

By Joel Achenbach  |  July 6, 2008; 10:38 AM ET
 
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